Abstract - Bottlenose whale diet, FA and SI analyses of biopsy samples. (fwd)

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Date: Mon Aug 13 2001 - 09:12:09 EDT

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    From: Sascha Hooker <s.hooker@st-andrews.ac.uk>
    Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
    Subject: Abstract - Bottlenose whale diet,
                      FA and SI analyses of biopsy samples.

    New publication.

    Hooker, S.K., S.J. Iverson, P. Ostrom, and S.C. Smith. 2001. Diet of
    northern bottlenose whales inferred from fatty-acid and stable-isotope
    analyses of biopsy samples. Canadian Journal of Zoology 79: 1442-1454.

    Abstract: The Gully submarine canyon off eastern Canada has been
    designated a pilot marine protected area largely because of the northern
    bottlenose whales (Hyperoodon ampullatus) found there. Studies of this
    species' diet elsewhere in the north Atlantic Ocean have suggested
    specialization on the deep-sea squid Gonatus fabricii. We found a high
    proportion of the congener Gonatus steenstrupi in the stomachs of two
    bottlenose whales stranded in eastern Canada. In 1997, we collected remote
    biopsy samples from free-ranging bottlenose whales off Nova Scotia: fatty
    acids were determined from blubber samples and stable isotopes (carbon and
    nitrogen) from skin samples. Although fatty-acid stratification throughout
    the depth of the blubber layer was present (determined from blubber samples
    of stranded animals), the magnitude of stratification was less pronounced
    than in many other cetaceans, allowing some qualitative inferences to be
    made from shallow biopsy samples. Fatty-acid patterns and stable-isotope
    values from whales were compared with samples of G. fabricii from the
    Norwegian Sea. Blubber fatty acid composition was similar in
    characteristics to that of adult G. fabricii but was markedly distinct from
    that of juvenile G. fabricii and other recorded prey species.
    Nitrogen-isotope values implied that bottlenose whales (mean 15.3 ppt) and
    adult G. fabricii (mean 13.7 ppt) occupy high trophic levels. Overall, the
    results of these techniques concurred in suggesting that squid of the genus
    Gonatus may form a major part of the diet of bottlenose whales in the Gully.

    This paper is available on request as a PDF file from Sascha Hooker

    Please note change of mailing address as follows:

    Sascha K. Hooker, PhD
    Sea Mammal Research Unit, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, KY16
    8LB, UK
    Phone: 44-1334-467201
    Fax: 44-1334-462632
    Email: s.hooker@st-andrews.ac.uk, shooker@is2.dal.ca

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